Water heaters are one of the essential and hardworking home appliances that provide hot water for various daily tasks. However, like all things, they have a limited life span. At some point, you may wonder if it’s time for a new water heater.
Noticing the signs you need a new water heater is important in determining if it’s time to say goodbye to your old one. Some signs may prompt you to call a plumber for repairs, while others may indicate the need for a replacement. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll walk you through the signs that point to a failing water heater and what you need to consider when getting a new one.
How do you know if your water heater needs to be replaced?
Discovering that your water heater needs replacement in the middle of a cold shower is a situation no one wants to be in. That’s why being aware of the various signs you need a new water heater is vital for you to intervene prior to a total system failure happening. Here are the main red flags to watch out for:
1. Advanced Age
Unlike fine wine, water heaters don’t get better with age. The typical life span of a conventional tank water heater is around 8 to 12 years. If yours is approaching or surpassing this age range, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement, even if it’s not showing any other noticeable issues.
On the other hand, if your heater is younger but experiencing frequent problems, it may indicate a manufacturing issue, so check your warranty.
2. Leaks and Corrosion
One of the many signs you need a new water heater is the presence of water around the header. Water pooling around the heater or signs of corrosion on the tank are clear indications that your water heater is on its last legs. In the case of corrosion, it’s an internal issue, and the tank is likely to develop a leak before long.
Trying to patch a leak is only a temporary solution; obtaining a replacement is a smarter move to avoid potential flooding and water damage.
3. Insufficient Hot Water
If you’re constantly running out of hot water or your showers have turned icy, it’s a good sign that your water heater is struggling to keep up. While this could be due to other factors, such as a malfunctioning thermostat, it’s worth having a technician check the unit. In some cases, you should consider buying a new water heater if your current is showing decreased capacity as it ages.
4. Odd Noises
A water heater that starts groaning, banging, or making any other disconcerting noises is trying to tell you that something is not right. Sediment buildup in the tank is a common cause of these sounds, and if left unaddressed, it can reduce the efficiency and life span of the heater. Flushing the tank might resolve the issue; however, if the noise persists, then a replacement may be necessary.
5. Rusty Water
When you turn on the hot tap, and what comes out is more like a rusty stream, the problem can be directly linked to your water heater. Rusty or discolored hot water is a clear sign of internal corrosion within the tank.
It’s best not to ignore the signs of a bad water heater. Take a look at the hot water in your kitchen tap, as the corrosion may be affecting your entire plumbing system. In this case, replacing the water heater won’t be the only task on your to-do list.
6. Visible Wear and Tear
Physical damage and wear on the water heater, such as dents, cracks, or loose connections, should be addressed timely. These external issues can lead to internal damage or even water leaks, so consider a replacement if the damage is extensive or impacts the unit’s functionality.
What should I look for in a water heater?
New water heater shopping is not something we all do every day. A water heater buying guide can be instrumental in highlighting essential factors to consider when the time comes to make a purchase. Here are some things you should look for in a water heater:
1. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is an important consideration for any appliance. When buying a new water heater, look for one that is labeled as ENERGY STAR® certified. These units are designed to use less energy, which can help reduce your utility bills and lessen your environmental impact.
2. Size and Capacity
Water heaters come in different sizes, so choose one that can meet your household’s hot water needs. If you have a large family or frequently use hot water for multiple tasks simultaneously, a larger capacity water heater will be necessary to ensure an adequate supply.
3. Type of Water Heater
There are several types of water heaters: heat pump, solar, storage, and tankless. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, so consider your budget, available space, and desired energy efficiency when selecting the right one for your needs.
4. Cost and Budget
Speaking of budget, buying a new water heater is an investment, so you’ll want to consider the initial cost of the unit and the long-term savings it can provide. While high-quality, energy-efficient models may have a higher upfront price, they can save you money through reduced energy consumption over time.
Check the warranty details of the water heater you’re considering. A longer warranty period typically indicates the manufacturer has confidence in the unit’s quality. It’s also a good idea to find out what the warranty covers and if any specific maintenance or service requirements are needed to maintain its validity.
6. Maintenance Requirements
Inquire about the upkeep requirements for the water heater models you’re evaluating. Some units may need regular flushing or other maintenance tasks to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Consider your willingness to perform these tasks or if you prefer a model with lower maintenance needs.
What to ask when replacing a water heater?
Planning on buying a new water heater? Replacing a water heater involves a combination of decisions and technical know-how. To get the process moving smoothly, consider asking your local plumber or other service provider the following questions:
1. “What type of water heater do you recommend for my home?”
Seeking a professional opinion on a suitable new water heater for your home is always a wise choice. Explaining your hot water needs and constraints will help them suggest the perfect type for your home.
2. “Can the new unit be placed in the same location as the current water heater?”
Checking if the replacement unit can be accommodated in the existing spot is important for two reasons: saving energy and cost. Reusing the same location can avoid the need for adjustments to the plumbing and potentially save you some installation expenses.
3. “Do I need to upgrade any other parts of my plumbing system?”
You may need to check the compatibility of the replacement with your current plumbing system. For example, switching from a storage tank to a tankless water heater may necessitate upgrades to handle the increased water flow. So, it’s best to ask if any other plumbing modifications or upgrades are necessary.
4. “Are there any changes in the building codes or regulations that I need to consider?”
Staying in the good graces of local building codes is vital, so don’t forget to ask if any changes are relevant to your planned water heater replacement. If updates are needed, factor the cost and time into your decision-making process.
5. “What will be the total cost, including the new unit, installation, and any additional necessary work?”
Getting a clear picture of the overall cost is important when buying a new unit. Ask for a detailed estimate that covers the cost of the water heater and labor, as well as any required additional work, such as plumbing upgrades or modifications. This way, you can properly evaluate your budget and ensure you’re getting the
The Bottom Line
Recognizing the need for a new water heater is only the beginning. Using this water heater buying guide, homeowners can discern essential features and options for their next unit.
However, even with the insights from the guide, the importance of expert guidance cannot be overstated. From installation to ensuring adherence to codes, a plumbing professional complements the knowledge gained from this guide, guaranteeing optimal performance and lasting comfort.
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Trust us to restore the warmth and comfort to your home with our expert services. No job is too big or small, and your satisfaction is our priority.